Category Archives: Five Stars

Healthy Dividends

Tricia Silverman brings a wealth of experience on nutrition and health in a compact and informative book. She teaches readers how to beat unhealthy food cravings and reveals that one can enjoy night outs in restaurants without breaking their diet. She uses some fad diets as examples of how to recognize a diet that is more harmful than useful. This book also comes with useful tips for self-motivation. Motivation is quite possibly the biggest enemy of healthy living. How do you motivate yourself to eat a healthy meal when there is fast food wafting in your airspace?

Tricia Silverman is not fueled by popularity and certified by social media. She is an academically certified nutrition expert. Her advice is evidence-based and factual. Her programs have been top-rated by clients, beneficiaries, and peers in her field. She has a refreshing way of delivering her message. The tone in the book is light while still maintaining an air of professionalism. She engages the reader in her book right from the beginning with her warmth and demand for full participation. Her advice is practical and realistic. While some diet goals can be designed to make you fail, she keeps in mind that you are human. She knows that you need to build up to an expert level. This is why it is a nutrition staircase. Stairs are meant to be taken one at a time.

This book is an easy read that is both motivating and inspiring. It made me feel like healthy living is actually possible. It takes you, step by step, from a novice to a well-oiled healthy machine. The writing style is laid back with both original and borrowed nuggets of wisdom scattered all around. The language used in this book is simple and friendly. Like two friends sharing stories of their wellness journey. Tricia adds a personal touch by sharing her own story of struggles with weight as an obese child.

This book is everything a wellness guide should be. It is simple, engaging and backed by science. It comes from a place of expertise and experience. For all of that and more, this book deserves five stars out of five. It is a must-have for anyone looking to live healthy, prevent disease, and simply be happy. Tricia Silverman has done a wonderful job. This book is your own personal wellness coach.

Pages: 186 | ASIN: B07ZQMYSJ9

Buy Now From B&N.com

Demon Heart

DEMON HEART by [David Crane, Mary Holzrichter]

Published in 2017, David Crane’s dramatic Sci-Fi novel, Demon Heart, is set in Osaka, Japan. It explores the roles of light and darkness in shaping the human experience. It is a powerful narrative about Naoko Kitamura, the protagonist who realizes that she is half-demon. Living amongst human beings, the character learns how to manage this dark side – by controlling the intensity of her powers.

Crane’s readers realize that learning one’s true identity has a significance in their life journey. All the challenges faced by Naoko, prove her strength and ability to achieve victory, regardless of all the tough circumstances at play.

I give this book a 5-star rating for numerous reasons. First, it was cathartic to read it in first person narration, as this made me feel closer to Naoko, the protagonist. It was easier to understand all the psychological battles within her mind, by progressing with her thoughts, throughout the story.

Furthermore, the book gives an account of the themes of good and evil, and the basis of human existence. Naoko reveals to her characters the importance of accepting one’s identity. Suppressing the shadows and demons within us only leads to chaos. If she wasn’t aware of her true identity, it’d be difficult for her to understand the origin of all the darkness around her.

Through the writing of Crane, the readers perceive demons from a different light. We have been taught, so often, that demons are destructive, and don’t want the best for humans. This is quite clear when Naoko is expected to keep her true identity a secret. Human beings cannot handle the intensity of divinity thus, they shouldn’t know much about this world. Keeping it a secret is also psychological since humans would not have the capacity to understand the healing powers of a demon-hybrid.

However, Naoko manages to engage the readers’ empathetic sides, as she thrives to create a balance between good and evil in the world. She is indeed one of the genuine police officers, who attempt to create this balance, while greatly fighting against evil.

This book also teaches its readers about Japanese cultures, traditions and beliefs, and it is a great narrative for readers like me, with a keen interest in the spiritual realm.

The story captured my attention, right from the title, and I’ll be sure to give it a second reading due to how much I related with the protagonist and her experiences.

Pages: 272 | ASIN: B074DSSBPY

Buy Now From B&N.com

Voyage Of Pearl Of The Seas

Voyage of Pearl of the Seas by [Ruth Finnegan]

Voyage of Pearl of the Seas is an enchanting novel about two characters, Kate and Chris. The plot of this fantastic novel follows these two endearing character’s who travel on a ship that they built for an exciting adventure. On this adventure, they learn make sacrifices, gain wisdom, and develop a deep bond between them. This novel is a prequel to Ruth Finnegan’s award-winning Black Inked Pearl, however it was made after and the former and explores different themes and ideas. Voyage of Pearl of the Seas is a short novel but it still explores deep issues that we can all relate to.

Ruth Finnegan has created a unique novel with Voyage of Pearl of the Seas. The story excels above others in many aspects. It is written in a style reminiscent to that of poetry than a standard novel which is beautifully eloquent in most areas.

I enjoyed following Kate and Chris, and their dog, on a wondrous adventure. Both Kate and Chris are well thought-out characters, but the real beauty is in how they evolve throughout the story. We get a sense of who they are and why certain actions were taken, though they are kids and sometimes children’s actions, to adults, can be frustrating. The themes this novel explores are deep and sometimes dark, like abuse and abandonment. While not exploring both to the same degree, Voyage of Pearl of the Seas may not be as robust in the themes of abuse but it succeeds in  themes of abandonment. Finnegan explores abandonment expertly and I, as a reader, felt that this was where the novel was at its best. It skillfully displays a person’s feelings of despair and anxiety when they have been left behind by everyone they love. This is something everyone has gone through yet only few novels can portray effectively.

Ruth Finnegan has undoubtedly created a beautiful story and where it succeeds, it excels greatly. Voyage of Pearl of the Seas is an intriguing YA fantasy adventure story.

Pages: 134 | ASIN: B079GPQMG1

Buy Now From B&N.com

8 Paradoxes of Leadership Agility: How to Lead and Inspire in the Real World

8 Paradoxes of Leadership Agility: How to Lead and Inspire in the Real World by [Chuen Chuen Yeo]

How can you become a leader in a world that is constantly changing? How can you become not just a good leader, but a great one?  Yeo Chuen Chuen shares how her powerful Re4 coaching model can help you accomplish this in her book 8 Paradoxes of Leadership Agility. We cannot stop the world from changing, so we must adapt and Yeo Chuen Chuen provides leadership guidance that will help you adapt and overcome any obstacle.

The keyword I picked up with this book is ‘agile’. How can leaders be agile? It starts with a mindset. But saying and doing are two different things and I think this is where 8 Paradoxes of Leadership Agility sets itself apart from other self/professional development books. The Re4 Coaching Model is plainly demonstrated in a way that helps you see the world through an unbiased lens. At the end of this practical leadership guide I felt that I understood why I needed to change, but much more importantly, I understood how to make the change happen. This is accomplished by the sharing of thought-provoking and diverse stories of leaders who faced similar challenges. I also appreciated the coaching exercises that are provided because they help reinforce what was learned and challenge you to think critically.

It could be Yeo Chuen Chuen’s proprietary coaching method, or it could be the pragmatic and approachable way that the information is laid out, but in either case I found the Re4 coaching model to be beneficial. But I will stress that you must have a willingness to embrace change as this method does encourage leaders to be agile in practice and in mindset.

If you have struggled with other leadership models, haven’t used one before, or are looking for a new one that is on the cutting edge, then I think you will find 8 Paradoxes of Leadership Agility fits your needs perfectly.

Pages: 138 | ASIN: B0893JQ6YH

Buy Now From B&N.com

Regrets

Regrets by [Milton Schacter]

Bradley, a grumpy old man, goes into his favorite liquor store one night to get a bottle of wine. Not knowing of what is awaiting him, everything changes when he is shot by a mugger. It would be obvious for Bradley’s story to end with his death but he wakes up in his former school where he used to play basketball and meets Pete who explains to him that his life is not over yet and how linear time works. Bradley is given another chance to live and face all the things he regrets from his younger age and makes amends but this will happen in the body of a young African American teen named DeShawn.

The author introduces his readers to the life of Bradley in a unique manner that I found to be full of gripping twists. The plot is easy to follow and captivating. The readers can feel the confusion of Bradley when he wakes up in his former high school in a different teens body, yet he is in his seventies. This opens the reader to another world of intriguing possibilities and a unique view at what things would look like if something of the sort happened like what Bradley faced. Pete is a representation of the state between heaven and hell. The conversation between Pete and Brad is philosophical and riveting. When Brad is given another chance to go back, make amends and face his regrets, it superbly sets up the story to explore possibilities, and the plethora of possibilities is what makes this novel immensely engaging.

Every piece of this book has been crafted carefully and the story line is fascinating. More than just being a great book, it creates a bond between two different worlds; the Midwestern life of Bradley and the “hood” life of DeShawn. Regrets uses a unique idea to explore the choices we all make in life. The author has also done a marvelous job of addressing the issues that most African Americans face in America and he advocates for Black Lives Matter in a fictional yet realistic way. I highly recommend this book.

Pages: 319 | ASIN: B0892P99KN

Buy Now From B&N.com

VanWest The Past

VanWest The Past by [Kenneth Thomas]

VanWest The Past by Kenneth Thomas is a thrilling intergalactic, dystopian space adventure taking place in the year 3000. Captain VanWest is our infallible protagonist. His mission is to escape the authoritarian society under the control of the Universal Council in order to reach the year 1951. The scenes and settings of all the years and places are extremely vivid and detailed, whether it be the futuristic Black Mirror-esque 3000 or simply 1990s Florida. VanWest has to prove again and again the strength of his character as he battles impossible odds, so that the restoration of the Earth to an earlier, brighter time may be possible.

It wasn’t a stretch for me to imagine that this would be our world in a few centuries or so. The author has created an extremely believable dystopia, simply by extrapolating the consequences of mankind’s current issues: everything from the deteriorating state of the environment or an increasingly unstable global political atmosphere. The best and scariest dystopian novels are those which aren’t too far from our reality.

The side plots are also well-developed. Even though VanWest is single-minded with his mission, he faces numerous other personal issues, including a complicated romantic situation that poses a threat to his goals. The way he navigates his moral, social, and ethical dilemmas is also presented in a very interesting way. Even though he had to make some tough choices along the way, VanWest remained consistent to his character and had me rooting for him throughout.

A lot of the creepy crawly creatures and characters of this book reminded me of a variety of other great stories I had read in the past. It harkens back to everything from Brave New World in the way it portrays the nature of the ruling body and Percy Jackson in the way its action scenes are jam-packed and relentless. I thought it was the mark of  great science fiction noveol the way it incorporated the best elements from some of the best examples in the field.

The pace is extremely fast, but it is suitable for the nature of the plot. Even though it ended in a cliffhanger, it felt like a well-rounded end to an enthralling story. I cannot wait for the next in the series.

Pages: 168 | ASIN: B088WYFK9Q

Buy Now From B&N.com

They Walk Alone

They Walk Alone by Bob Kern is a memoir detailing his experiences caring for several loved ones with dementia. This is a personal story that will undoubtedly leave you on the edge of tears, if not crying. So be warned, this story is deeply emotional, but within these pages Bob Kern is also able to inform and educate others that are caring for a loved one with dementia.

They Walk Alone is striking in it’s ability to vividly paint the picture of Mamaw. I felt as if I was with the family, living the moments of joy and heartache. I don’t have a loved one with dementia, but this novel was able to enlighten me and now I am able to appreciate the difficulties one faces when caring for someone with this terrible disease.

Dementia transforms the person you knew. Bob Kern captures that slow transformation eloquently and with warm sentiment. I could feel the love and I could feel the pain, and I appreciated how open and honest this book was. The stories shared throughout the book were stories we could all relate to, they were of people we all probably know, and this is what makes the book so sad. We can see in Mamaw our own grandmother.

They Walk Alone is a touching story about Bob Kern’s journey tending to loved ones diagnosed with dementia. He even details the loss of someone suffering from dementia. Readers get a personal account of Bob’s life as he moves through the different stages of dementia. If you enjoy true, honest, and impassioned stories that are also informative then this book is perfect for you.

Pages: 141 | ASIN: B06XDX1XCV

Buy Now From B&N.com

%d bloggers like this: